Monday, October 4, 2010

I Hope

I can't stop thinking about a Mom I met today.

Four kids. She and her husband broke up. She had moved away. Now they were reconciled and she and the kids were back. She'd been back in town for less than an hour and was there to register her babies for school. (This is not as common as you'd think ... some people have seven year-olds they've not yet registered for Kindergarten and they've lived in town the child's entire life.) That this woman was at my desk on the same morning she got back, and that she had all of her kids birth certificates, shot records and names and numbers of previous schools absolutely thrilled me. I've met parents with PhD's who weren't as organized as this Mama--we were going to get along SWIMMINGLY. And those kids were good kids. Well behaved with great eye contact, inquisitive, using appropriate language for their age groups. All good signs.

We commenced with the paperwork mountain.

At the end of it, I asked her to call me tomorrow afternoon for class assignments. She agreed and off they went.

Five hours later she returned. This was not the same woman who had been there earlier in the day. This one had bruises forming and bandages over cuts and obvious contusions ... and a very apologetic demeanor. In fact, the first thing she said was, "I'm sorry."

The story, while short, spilled out in a torrent of words. She left my office and went home to her husband. Who promptly beat the ever living crap out of her. She spent the rest of my work day in the emergency room and then talking with police. And now they had to leave again. And she was sorry. Sorry for what, she didn't say. It was everything I could do to not offer her a hug. But you could tell she was barely holding it together and that she needed to keep it together for the kids. They were with her, but quieter this time. Solemn.

And so I made her swear she'd never come back. And asked if she had what she needed to get them where they were going. And then I sent every ounce of love I had to her as I watched she and the kids walk sadly out the front doors and into a bright autumn day at odds with their shuffling gates and dropped shoulders.

I've never wished so hard to never see someone again as much as I wished to not see her or the kids anywhere near this town ever again. Near those memories. Near that man.

I don't know how long this will stay with me. A part of me hopes I forget quickly so I don't see them in my dreams. Another part of me hopes it stays forever so I don't forget. Because how CAN someone forget? How can you hear her, see her, see those kids and then just forget, have it fade away like your high school locker combination or your second-grade teacher's name?

I don't have the answer. I don't have so much as a clue. I just have love. So I think of her with love. And I think of how she looked to me: capable, engaged, patient and organized. And I picture her knowing she is all of these things and more.

I Hope
Dixie Chicks

Sunday morning, I heard the preacher say
Thou shall not kill
I don't wanna, hear nothin' else, about killin'
And that it's God's will
Cuz our children are watching us
They put their trust in us
They're gonna be like us
So let's learn from our history
And do it differently

I hope
For more love, joy and laughter
I hope
We'll have more than we'll ever need
I hope
We'll have more happy ever afters
I hope
We can all live more fearlessly
And we can lose all the pain and misery
I hope, I hope

Oh Rosie, her man he gets too rough
And all she can say, is he's a good man
He don't mean no harm
He was just brought up that way
But our children are watching us
They put their trust in us
They're gonna be like us
It's okay for us to disagree
We can work it out lovingly

For I hope
For love, joy and laughter
I hope
You'll have more than you'll ever need
I hope
You'll have more happy ever afters
I hope
And you can all live more fearlessly
And you can lose all your pain and misery
I hope, I hope

There must be a way to change what's going on
No, I don't have all the answers, but
I hope
For more love, more joy and laughter
I hope
you'll have more than you'll ever need
I hope
You'll have more happy ever afters
I hope
We can all live more fearlessly
And we can lose all the pain and misery,
I hope I hope
and we can lose all the pain and misery

I hope, I hope.


Emily said...

This story made me cry and gave me goosebumps. I wish that women all the luck I have in my heart, and she is in my prayers.
Thank you for sharing that story Laura. Hopefully you sharing will create enough thoughts and prayers that she and her children can stay safe.

Leah Killian said...

That's horrible.

I hope she never comes back, and I hope karma kicks the crap out of that guy.

Carolyn Baana said...

At a loss for words. Simply said, praying for her and her kids.

Anonymous said...

Laura, you did such a good job writing about this account.

I remember being that woman, I remember the bruises inside and out, I remember wanting to forgive him, wanting our family to stay together.

Then I learned God wanted me to forgive all men. And ye ought to say in your hearts- let God judge between me and thee, and reward thee according to thy deeds.

We are asked to forgive not stick around and continue to be abused. I forgave him. But I will never trust him or be in his presence again.

It is my hope she will finally find the strength to never go back, but strive to make the best life she can for herself and her beautiful children.

The amazing part of it all is that God loves and understands the abuser too and you have to wonder what he has experienced in his life to bring him to such a point. We all experience different is just so sad when we 'choose' to continue doing the horrible things.

It is important for us to remember to prayer for all of them.